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itinerary for 7 days in France

We will be in France in late August 2014 before heading to London and then Edinburgh. Right now I have 5 nights in Paris. Never having been to Europe, much less France, I would love to see other areas of France, so I realize that we may need to cut back on the days in Paris. Anyone have a sugggestion as to what/where is possible with 7 days in France? We also have 5 days planned in London and then at least a week in Edinburgh. We could certainly cut back the number of days in London, and add a couple extra to France. We would be arriving from Washington DC on August 25. Thanks for any help!

Posted by
11450 posts

Where are you flying into( arriving into Paris )

I would not cut too many days from Paris.. 5 days is short.. but you could squeeze it into three... if you were totally compelled to.. lol
France is a huge country.. you can't see it in a week. You can see Paris and perhaps one other area..

Some choices may be ( depending on your interests)

Bayeux and D Day beaches Normandy( train from Paris to Bayeux and tour from there,, perhaps visit Mont St Michel also)

Loire Valley Chateaus.. ( take a train to Tours or Amboise and rent a car and tour around )

Nice/ Cannes French Riveria ( Monaco , Eze , etc)

I know many like Provence.. but you seem to only have a few days and I think the area would be better enjoyed if you had at least 4-5 days.. where as the other areas I suggested you could manage on a three day visit.

Posted by
2000 posts

I would spend at least 5 nights in Paris, where there is so much to see and do that could easily eat up 5 or even 7 days.... you could do at least 1 day trip to Versailles, or Chartres. (easy to do on your own, by train, following Rick Steves' guide) To go a bit further out, if you don't plan to rent a car while there, you could take a bus tour of a couple of the Loire castles or Normandy beaches. Both of them go through lovely French countryside and quaint villages. . Paris City Vision is the company

Posted by
11 posts

Thank you for your advice! I think we have to decide what is more important, and that is so hard to do as France seems to be such a lovely country! Could anyone tell me if we could manage a trip to Colmar from Paris with two extra nights? Or possible on a 1 night overnight? I think Provence is out unless we have more time. And could we really fit in time in Nice or South of France with a total of 5 nights? My daughter would really love to do that.

Posted by
1994 posts

Colmar is wonderful and is only a few hours by train from Paris. And having two nights there would be great. If you like Gothic cathedrals, I'd suggest stopping in Strasburg on your way and visiting cathedral there. It is really lovely. The museum in Colmar is one of my favorite small museums in Europe. It also a wonderful town for just wondering. It very much blends the German and French.

Posted by
3696 posts

The south of France is beautiful, so if that is the dream trip, then go for it.... I like big cities, but prefer smaller villages, countryside, the my choice would be 3 days in Paris and the rest in the south, perhaps ending in Nice (big city also). I would take the fast train from Paris to Avignon and rent a car, see the south and end in Nice where you can drop the car and travel on to your next location. I would take time from Edinburg to spend it in the south of France:) It will be busy in France and probably hot, so I would rather spend more time near the sea than in Paris. You can see a lot of the major sights in Paris in 3 days...and of course you can always try to return if you love it.

Posted by
9110 posts

Is the whole week in Edinburg essential? It seems disproportionate.

Posted by
183 posts

My wife and I spent 7 days in paris last sept. There is plenty to see in paris ,but you can take the train to Versailles for the day ,only a 35 minute train ride , or you can fly to nice and spend the day in nice and Monaco and fly back to paris the next day .we plan on going back as you can' t do it all and enjoy it all in 7 Days . Enjoy it's a beautiful trip

Posted by
4125 posts

With 2 nights, Colmar is an excellent idea, and logistically straightforward. You might also consider Lyon. With a few more days and a car, you might consider Beaune.

You can make Provence work with or without a car for a few days if you fly into Marseilles. (Train to Paris.) It's a busy place in August (and hot), so if you are tempted reserve in advance. Provence is great and provides a real contrast with Paris and the north.

A swing though Normandy is possible with more time and a car. I'd want at least 3 nights.

But Colmar is an excellent idea.

Posted by
266 posts

My suggestions would be Versailles for a day-trip, Vernon/Giverny or Reims for an overnight. Taking the train out to enjoy some of the champagne houses and the cathedrals is a interesting way to experience a smaller city. Though I really think for a first time trip to Europe, 5 days in Paris is the perfect start.

Posted by
6117 posts

If I had only a week, I would stay in Paris and add a little variety by taking a day trip or two in the area. Some obvious choices are Chartres, Versailles, Giverny. Some other great choices for day trips within an hour of Paris: Auvers sur Oise, Crecy la Chapelle, Moret sur Loing, Fontainebleau,Senlis, Rouen, Reims and there are many more. I don't think the payoff is there for Colmar with so little time. There are equally attractive small towns around Paris. 5 nights in Paris is 4 full days -- which doesn't come close to enough time and trips to Provence, or Nice or Alsace suck up lots of time on logistics. You can see pictures of some of the towns I mentioned in my photo journal under day trips from Paris.

A week is a very short trip and the first and last days are basically shot with logistics. You will see more by staying put and making the best of the Ile de France.

Posted by
14409 posts

Ed - Erin posted on another thread that they are in Edinburgh because their daughter is starting school there. They probably want to help her settle in and then get to know the place where she'll be living.